Save the city

Published at December 05, 2018 01:18 AM 0Comment(s)2412views


Save the city

Haphazard development in Srinagar that has maintained its pace over the years has led to the beautiful city turning into an eyesore. Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) made tall claims in the past on developing the city in an integrated and planned manner. Srinagar Master Plan when it was still under review had several components that seemingly pleased most of the people, including authorities. One of the key proposals of SDA was about extending the city limits. People of Valley and particularly those living within city limits welcomed it hoping that it may decongest Srinagar and improve the landscape that has been ruined by haphazard building and construction works. By expanding the area from 417 kms to 757 kms, it was deemed as a major change compared to the minor facelifts that Srinagar has seen over the years. Right from its inception when city’s master plan opened to public scrutiny, it has drawn criticism. River Jhelum, one of the major natural water bodies that flows from south of the Valley through Srinagar to north Kashmir somehow escaped the vision of the city planners. Green Srinagar has become debatable with more areas being rendered naked by felling of trees. The floods exposed the poor planning and complacency, which are believed to be inherited by state administration since inception. There is more chaos in the city, the Master Plan and its claims apparently have no visible connection. Instead, it is the pollution and traffic mismanagement that the city has earned a reputation for. Reduced to being just a commercial centre, the summer capital, Srinagar is struggling to retain its glorious past. SDA is not the only body that is to be blamed. Srinagar Municipal Corporation and several other public bodies have had their share too in its ruin. Although there is disproportionate share of land for residential purposes, for agriculture and land reserved for water bodies owing to unique topography, the government and its functionaries have failed to keep it that way. In many areas where land is earmarked to be used for agriculture purposes, residential structures and even colonies have sprouted. Water bodies are vulnerable without any rehabilitation plan that could work on ground. There are countless allegations against corrupt officers who are said to have traded building permissions for easy money. As political executives keep on changing, the degenerate state of the city can also be attributed to bureaucracy. Whether Srinagar will be able to revive its rich political, administrative cultural roots besides the pleasant landscape, it is hard to say.     

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